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Dang internet. They don't care whose lives they ruin.
When you read a news story about an old person or a disabled person who has been robbed or beaten or murdered or otherwise attacked in some way, the outrage is always, always unqualified. No one ever questions where they were or what they were doing or who they were with or what they were wearing.

When you read a news story about a young, able-bodied woman who has been attacked, we as a society need to do a questionnaire before we can decide whether or not we sympathise.

Where was she?
Why was she there?
What time was it?
What was she wearing?
Where was she going?
Where had she been?
Had she been drinking?
Who was she with?
Why was she with them?
Was she flirting with someone?
Did she kiss someone?
Did she - god forbid - have sex with someone?

And then we make our judgements and proclamations of where she went wrong. It comes under many guises - 'commonsense', 'just how it is', 'life in the real world', 'sensible advice', etc. etc. What it comes down to is deciding whether or not a woman is deserving of sympathy when something horrible happens to her. And there are many times we decide that she isn't.

It's hard to explain the entrenched fear of attack and threat that women go through life with. I can't say I've done any extensive studies, but I would venture to guess that men do not feel the same as a matter of course (perhaps in particular situations). I've asked a few men before if they have a fear of attack when they're just going about their business and they have stared blankly at me. Women go through their day hyper-aware of the potential threats around them. A man in prison would have a very genuine fear that he could be raped at any time. A man walking down the street likely doesn't. Women, however, carry that fear constantly. And what we do not need is men telling us that we 'should' be doing X.

Don't go out at night.
Don't go down dark streets.
Don't wear revealing clothing.
Don't be alone anywhere.
Just dont.


I wanted this to be a nice, clear, linear post, but I have many stories jumbled in my head, so I'm just going to list them and I apologise if together they don't make a whole lot of sense. I am really just trying to illustrate the anger I feel generally about this issue.

My 14 year old daughter and her friends are regularly subjected to wolf whistles, cat calls, and cries of "Show us yer tits!" while walking to school. So regularly that they just shrug it off now as a normal part of being a girl, even though she has told me many times that it scares her when it happens.

Once I was walking home from work at about 4:30 in the afternoon and headed down a laneway towards my house. A very obviously drunk man was heading towards me from the other end of the lane. He must have seen me stiffen, as he called out, "It's okay love, I'm just walking." I felt bad for automatically assuming that he might harm me, but on the other hand, as women know, there is a very real danger that he could have. He was bigger than me and stronger than me.

When I was young I had a boyfriend who was a really big guy - well over 6 feet and built like a brick shit-house. He told me once that he had been walking home late at night and there was a girl walking in front of him who seemed to be freaking out that he was behind her. She kept looking behind at him, and walking unnaturally fast. He felt bad so he crossed the road to let her know that he wasn't following her. I have never forgotten this story - it always depressed me that anyone could possibly think he would harm them, as he was one of the most laid back, easygoing people I've ever met. On the other hand, if I didn't know him and he was walking behind me in the middle of the night, I'd have been shitting myself too. This is our lives. This is what we as women deal with. If you're a man reading this, maybe one small thing you could do from now on is cross the road. You might know you're harmless - that girl walking in front of you doesn't. And she is afraid of you.

Most of the women I know have been flashed at one time or another. Most of the women I know have had to physically fight off unwanted advances of one degree or another. Both of these acts constitute a type of assault, but I've never heard of anyone bothering to report it because it is so prevalent that it's almost like a terrible rite of passage in the journey to becoming a woman. We are so accustomed to this behaviour that it would never occur to us to try to do anything practical to stop it.

Years ago I read a survey in Marie Claire of high school boys and their attitudes to women. One third of those surveyed said they thought it was acceptable to 'forcibly coerce' a girl into sex 'in some circumstances'.


Two nights ago I was walking home from work at about 6pm, it was starting to get dark so I decided to go the long way around the main streets near my home rather than take the short cut through the lane way behind my house. Two busloads full of screaming, drunken young men came around the corner - they were all hanging out the window yelling abuse at everyone (including me). Buck's night? Sports team pub crawl? Who know? Who cares? The buses passed me and then pulled up about 20 feet in front. I would have to walk right past them to get to my house. I stopped, thought for a second and then doubled back around the block and went up the lane way. At dusk on a Friday evening, walking down a deserted lane seemed a less threatening option than walking down my own fucking street.

Women are conditioned to be 'nice' and 'polite' (witness the outcry against Catherine Deveny a few weeks ago when she went up against Peter Jenkins on Q & A - she wasn't 'nice' and we were horrified. We were not so horrified that the person she wasn't 'nice' to was talking blatant hate for a minority group, because he did it 'nicely', with a quiet, calm manner). We are an attacker's dream, because although we may feel threatened in some instances, unless there's a clear sign that we are about to be attacked in some way, we generally won't cause a scene. We put up with a lot. We don't want to make people feel bad (as an aside, this is how 'nice guys' get put up with too - women don't want to hurt their feelings by telling them they're being creepy).

There are so many more things I could say but I'm tired of it all. I am really, really angry about all that women are still putting up with in 2012, and in fact I feel like it's getting worse. When 14 year olds in school uniforms just expect to be abused on the street as part of their daily life, what hope do we have for their future interactions?

And men, I know most of you are just trying to be practical and helpful, but you come across as patronising when you lecture us about how we should behave. The reality is that we do take care, and bad things still happen. And until (some) men stop attacking women because they're out and about in front of them, nothing will change. Do you really want to let women know you care about it too? Be involved. Go and march in Reclaim the Night. Retweet, reblog, repost things women write about their experiences. Stand united. Do not hijack conversations about issues that largely affect women and try to make them about you and your gender. Understand that women talking about issues that largely affect women are not a personal attack on you or your gender. And above all, give support, not advice. 

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Kevin Rudd's sister quits the ALP because they heart the gays. Or something.

"But to make that huge leap from their rights to breaking a commandment of Moses, to say homosexuals' relationships is marriage, is utter nonsense."

"But to make that huge leap from their rights to breaking a commandment of Moses, to say homosexuals' relationships is marriage, is utter nonsense."

"But to make that huge leap from their rights to breaking a commandment of Moses, to say homosexuals' relationships is marriage, is utter nonsense."

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With apparently no tongue in cheek, this woman is complaining to the media about how she will be $700 a year worse off with a Carbon Tax.

She is a stay at home mother, with a husband who earns "more than $150,000 a year", or as she says, "slightly more". Slightly more than what? The average wage? The average wage in Australia is about $67,000 a year. So I'd say he earns slightly more than "slightly more". Maybe it's "slightly more" than the median wage? That's about $55,000. So this woman's husband earns almost 3 times that amount - not exactly "slightly more".

And what will the carbon tax cost them? About $13.50 a week. Tragic.

But you know what? It's a rough life out there for people like this poor woman, and we should all hang our heads in shame that we have allowed these people to fall through the cracks of society. I'd like to take up a canned food drive for her or something. Come on, who's with me?
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Government plans sex offenders register.

Why this is a stupid idea: because there is nothing on earth that brings out the crazy in people like the idea of a child molester somewhere in their midst.

1. Regardless of the rejection of the idea by the Police Minister of WA, publicising the whereabouts of registered sex offenders has resulted in vigilantism over and over again. Now, on the one hand, I can't summon up an awful lot of sympathy for some paedo getting rocks thrown at his house or having someone punch him in the street or whatever, but it's the principle. It's not okay to take the law into your own hands, and this kind of 'register' just encourages idiots to do exactly that.

2. It's easy to get complacent. You might be spending all your energy making sure your children don't go within 20 feet of that convicted child molester's house when the guy who lives next door to you has been feeling up his nieces and nephews for years and has never been caught. And you think it's cute when he chats to your kid about the flowers in his garden...

3. Regardless of how much we might dislike it, these people have served their time and should be left alone. The fact that they are registered means they are monitored. If you think they should have longer sentences or not be let out at all once they have been caught the first time (and in the case of paedophiles who have been shown to be almost 100% recidivists, I'm inclined to support this idea), lobby your local member of parliament to change the sentencing legislation.

4. The line of what is and isn't a 'sex offender' is murky. Remember a few years ago that 23 year old music teacher who was a registered sex offender because he had a relationship with a 17 year old? Who wasn't his student? Who refused to press charges? Who later became engaged to him? He made a bad judgement, but he's not a sex offender like, say, Dennis Ferguson is a sex offender. He's not even a sex offender like Wayne Carey is a sex offender. There are degrees of 'offending' but your average idiot vigilante or hysterical mother doesn't recognise that - all they see is:


And if you don't think people are that stupid, think again.
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It's pretty common knowledge that I'm a bit of a lefty socialist, so as you can imagine, I've been following the Occupy movement with great interest. I'm not anti-capitalist as such, but I'm very much against rampant, unchecked capitalism, and it warms my heart to see that large groups of people are finally beginning to agree that this is a problem. It's a shame it took until hundreds of thousands of people in the richest country in the world started losing their homes and wondering where their next meals would come from to get some action going, but at least it's going. Whether this is the beginning of a revolution or whether it will peter out eventually with the 1% firmly retaining control of pretty much everything remains to be seen. I'd like to believe that what we are witnessing will lead to a change, even if it's a long time coming. I think it has to - corporations control the world because the people allow that to happen. More and more people have stopped being complacent and are starting to speak up. I think that's brilliant, and I hope fervently that it's not too late.

Having said that, when I first heard about Occupy Melbourne/Sydney, I was actually a bit annoyed. I considered it a bit of a slap in the face to try to align ourselves with a country full of people who are experiencing real hardship and have few - if any - safety nets to protect them. As pointed out in this post on We Are The 99%, Australia has free health care, interest-free tertiary education loans and one of the world's best welfare systems. Okay, it's not perfect - I'm sure everyone can tell a horror story about that one time their granny was left on a trolley in a hallway for four hours because there wasn't a hospital bed available, or Centrelink screwed up your payment and you got too much and had to pay it back or whatever. But the point is, in this country, there is help for those who need it. If you get cancer, you will be treated. If you lose your job, you will get welfare. We are certainly not the 99%.


In this country, the mining industry is powerful enough to oust a Prime Minister to avoid contributing their fair share of tax.
In this country, banking, electricity, gas, water and the phone system are all privatised.
In this country, 70% of the print media is owned by one company (who also own or have shares in a large percentage of TV media), which actively campaigns for or against governments to serve their own corporate interests.
In this country, political discourse has been reduced to abusing one another like 10 year olds in a schoolyard, thanks largely again to the privately-owned media.
In this country, mortgages are more and more outside the realm of possibility for a single, average income person, and house prices are still going up.
In this country, there is a chronic shortage of housing for low income earners, and shrinking public housing.
In this country, there is an outcry when a family earning $150,000 or more are told they can pay their own child care fees rather than claiming half of it back from the government.
In this country the middle classes screamed bloody murder when told there would be a carbon tax that would end up costing the upper tiers about the price of two coffees a week. And they're still screaming.

And the icing on the cake: the shareholders of the country's major airline voted to give the CEO a 70% payrise, at the same time as he decided to put a stop to the staff's collective bargaining negotiations (5% payrise, less outsourcing of their work and other such 'unreasonable' demands) by shutting down the entire business and attempting to lock everyone out.

No, we are not the 99%. But the poor are getting poorer while the middle-class and wealthy bitch about how much tax they have to pay to contribute to the society we live in and scream the place down at the mere whiff of losing some of their many handouts.

We live in a society that begrudges taking in a couple of thousand asylum seekers a year because they cling to the myth that coming here by boat is jumping some non-existent queue.
We live in a society where a group of middle-aged, middle-class people can scream abuse at the Prime Minister in Parliament because of a tax that would cost most of them pretty much nothing with no repercussions, but a hundred or so protesters sitting around in an area hardly anyone uses protesting rampant corporate greed warrants the use of several hundred riot police moving them out by any means necessary.
We live in a society that wants free education, free health care, welfare for those who "deserve" it (my relative who lost his job and is hard done by but not that bludger up the street), but we also want - and get - tax cut after tax cut after tax cut. And still we bitch because it's not enough. And our granny is in the hallway of the hospital on a trolley. And my kid can't get a special needs teacher. And that's the government's fault because they're not paying for these things with their magic pot of money that comes from somewhere but it better not be from us.

Do we wait until we reach the point that the USA has gotten to, or do we act now?

So, to those occupying Melbourne, Sydney and wherever else - you have my apologies. I was wrong to be annoyed.

Bring on the fucking revolution.

How's that workin' out for ya?: pissed off

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Who am I kidding? I'll always be angry.
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How are you all doing? What's everyone been up to?
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Day 27 - Best pilot episode

Glee. The pilot was a spectacular beginning to a show that unfortunately has never lived up to that first episode. I'm still hanging in there, though.

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Get-Up Factsheet on Refugees

Dear Idiots Who Talk About "queues", "illegal boats" and "proper channels", and also Julia Gillard, since you're pandering to these idiots,

This is why there cannot be a "debate" on this topic, because one side is "debating" with completely incorrect information:

1. They're coming here in droves!
Julia Gillard herself admitted that what Julian Burnside said about it taking 20 years to fill the MCG with these people was true.

2. But they're jumping the queue!
There is no queue for asylum seekers. Anyone can turn up and seek asylum, from any country at any time. Perfectly legal.

3. They're not using "proper channels/legal methods"!
There are no "proper channels". Once again, anyone, anywhere, at any time, from any country can legally turn up in this country by any method and seek asylum. IT IS PERFECTLY LEGAL.

4. They are not genuine!
85-90% of boat people are eventually found to be genuine refugees - compared to about 45% of people who arrive by plane.

5. How can they be refugees if they have the money to pay to come here on a boat?
There is no law that says a refugee or asylum seeker has to be poor. In fact, many of them come from wealthy families who are in danger from corrupt governments seizing their wealth and property (ie: Zimbabwe).

6. We should be looking after our own people first - especially pensioners!
We do. We look after both. Pensioners just got a $30 a week pay rise. They have pension cards, pensioner concessions, most of them either own their own home outright or are in government housing. The myth of the starving pensioner eating cat food is exactly that.

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Day 21 - Favorite ship

I'm not a shipper - in fact, I only found out what that meant fairly recently. I don't much like romantic entanglements in my stories, it gets on my nerves. I don't want to see Betty and Daniel together, or Joan and Don, or Leonard and Penny, or Jeff and Britta, OR JEFF AND ANNIE, or Sheldon and anyone.

However, there is one romance I hold above all others - in TV and in life. It chokes me up just to think about it, damn it. It is proof of the genius of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant that they could create this utterly beautiful, perfect, completely uncheesy love story.

And while I'm here, let me just go ahead and include this as:

Day 22 - Favorite series finale

Have you got everything you need? Cheers.Collapse )
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Day 12 - An episode you've watched more than 5 times

Oooh. This is a hard one, because I don't tend to watch things over and over, no matter how much I love them. I've been sitting here for a while thinking about it, and the only thing I can absolutely swear I've seen at least 5 times (and maybe not more than that) is that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Robert goes out with the frog lady. It's my favourite episode and I watch it every time it turns up on Foxtel.

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Day 09 - Best scene ever

Oooooh. I'm really tempted to say the scene in the South Park episode The Death Of Eric Cartman where Cartman eats all the skin off the KFC and makes Kenny cry, because I LOVE that scene so much.

However, I think I have to go with the scene in The Sopranos where Adriana gets killed. It is set up so brilliantly, so that the audience realises what is happening at about the same time she does. Ugh - it gives me chills just thinking about it.

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Day 07 - Least favorite episode of your favorite TV show

Oh no, I broke the meme! I haven't seen Twin Peaks for a long time - I can't honestly remember my least favourite episode. So instead I'm going to go right off track and talk about something completely random, but still TV-related.

When Roseanne was first shown on TV, I watched it religiously. It was a groundbreaking sitcom for its time - a realistic, working-class family where everyone looked like ordinary people. And it was funny. It all started to go to seed when Roseanne herself became really, really big (in fame, not size - she was actually shrinking by then) and was let loose too much to do her own thing. Fantasies about Fabio, various soap operas, Gilligan's Island... it was just embarrassing. And of course Sarah Chalke (known in this household as "Crap Becky") wasn't a patch on the gloriously dramatically bitchy character played by Lecy Gorenson. I tuned out for most of the last two seasons - it was the mid-90s and I actually had a life then. I remember watching the final episode though, and thinking it was pretty much the stupidest thing I'd ever seen on television.

Recently I've been watching the re-runs on Foxtel, and the other day was the final episode. I have to say, I've been rethinking my original opinion. Okay, I'm not happy about the whole "Mark was really with Darlene and David was really with Becky" thing, but on the whole, when you've watched everything leading up to it, the finale does kind of work.

Jacquie, take note. I am coming as close as I ever will to admitting that I was wrong.

We will resume normal meme-programming tomorrow.

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